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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

Math-fact gamification Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses. Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool. Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies. While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes. According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1
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2017 Teacher Book Nook: Summer Reads

What's on your to-read list this summer? If you're a teacher, you probably have a stack of books you can't wait to start reading. Still, there's always room for more--right? Here are our top picks for your 2017 summer book nook.
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Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage

Yes, this is a tongue-in-cheek post, but considering how our Big Brainz team members spend their lives trying to help folks master their core math facts, we thought this would be a wonderful story to share about how math fluency just might save your relationship. James Clerk Maxwell and his wife Katherine--together, a math-fluent pair!   Read the article here: Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage Enjoy!
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The Student Portfolio: A New Showcase for Student Work

Sample list, Student Portfolio If you've been an Imagine Learning educational partner for any length of time, you probably already know how to access offline resources at myimaginelearning.com (aka, the teacher's portal). However, you may not have discovered another wonderful tool within the portal: the new Student Portfolio. Educators gained access to this handy resource in February 2016. If you haven't yet tried it, don't worry--we'll guide you through it here. By learning how to use the Student Portfolio, just think how prepared you'll be for a new year of Imagine Learning this Fall!
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Memorize Your Times Tables, Dear

Six in every ten Americans report having difficulty solving some type of math, and 30 percent of Americans say they would rather clean the bathroom than solve a math problem. Yet 93 percent of Americans say that developing good math skills is crucial to having a successful life. So why would anyone dislike something that brings success? Most Americans develop their attitudes about math from others. For example, if parents don't enjoy math, they may pass that attitude forward to children. Perhaps parents or teachers nag too much. "Memorize your times tables!" they might say, "Work harder!" Or, perhaps nagging isn't to blame. Maybe students feel inadequate during math class because they're just missing out on some key fundamentals. Whatever the reasons, no one can really deny the importance of mathematics. Math is important in everyday life!
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The Culture of Imagine Learning Español

Learning about España In Imagine Learning Español, young students have a great time learning to read in Spanish. As students begin their learning paths, they listen to letter and syllable sounds, sing along to captivating songs, and build reading skills in activities made just for them. But most kids are less familiar with how Spanish is spoken around the world. They might think that every Spanish speaker sounds just like them! The designers of Imagine Learning Español want to help young readers of Spanish appreciate the wider world that surrounds them. With this goal in mind, Imagine Learning Español includes cultural activities featuring Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.
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Do Math Video Games Really Improve Mathematical Skills?

Math can be a frustrating challenge for some kids. Less so for most adults, generally because age and experience make math easier to comprehend. It’s not always so simple for kids. Each child has a unique learning style. Some children learn to add by counting on their fingers. Others may make up a song to help them with their times tables. The best teachers accommodate all learning styles. However, even when teachers use multiple strategies to teach basic addition and subtraction skills, it's sometimes hard to tell if kids are truly fluent in math facts. Flash forward to video games. They've been around a long time and are a huge hit with kids and teenagers. To many teachers (and parents), video games may seem like a complete waste of time. Because kids love them, they want to spend a lot of time playing--sometimes to the exclusion of other worthwhile activities. Enter game-based learning strategies, aka video-based math games. Educators may wonder if these, too, are a waste of time--or if they actually help kids learn. Current brain research seems to indicate the latter outcome.  A Case Study: Timez Attack Big Brainz is a case in point. Its designer, Ben Harrison, was tired of hearing his young daughter come home each day saying that she was "stupid." As she struggled with math, Ben knew there had to be a better way to give his daughter the math skills she needed to feel confident and successful.
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Skip the Apples--Here's What Teachers Really Want

It's that time of year when eager young students come to class with teacher gifts in hand. Those gifts might be anything from a fruit basket to a plate of brownies to a homemade card. Do teachers appreciate these gifts? Of course. But do they use them? Not always. The truth is, most teachers are just happy to be recognized for what they do. Still, it's hard to be completely thrilled by another "World's Greatest Teacher" mug. Or by anything that remotely resembles an apple. Top-rated teacher gifts can be simple Parents should be credited for wanting to show appreciation to their child's teacher. But instead of another scented candle, bottle of lotion, or expensive art piece, why not choose:
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How To Make Multiplication Tables Fun

Learning multiplication tables can be a challenge for children who struggle to grasp these concepts quickly. Luckily, kids are more likely to pick up math-fact skills by playing games that test their knowledge rather than by simply doing math homework. Here are 5 fun ways to help kids memorize times tables:   Play Bottle Cap Multiplication Write the times table equation on the top of a bottle cap and write the answer on the inside of the cap. Once the child answers the question correctly he or she can turn the bottle cap over. Time your child and see how quickly they can flip all the caps over! (Alternately, see how many caps they can flip over within an allotted time).
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Language Acquisition and the Mathematics Classroom

A guest post by Linda Hardman President of Linda A. Hardman Consulting, Inc., teacher, and developer of multiple award-winning K12 math products Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the percentage of English language learners (ELL) in US public schools grew in the 2012–2013 school year by 9.2 percent (i.e., 4.4 million students) compared to the prior school year. Additionally, a new Pew Research Center study reported that a near-record 13.9 percent of the US population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here. A diverse group of young students Because of these trends, students are significantly challenged to master academic language across the US. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics are also placing high demands in mathematics regarding abstract and quantitative reasoning, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, and looking for/expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. Students and educators are even more challenged with the acquisition of academic language as a tool for mastering conceptual and procedural understanding of mathematical standards and practices. As a result of the increasing amount of ELL students and the challenges presented by the CCSS for mathematics, it is important for students to acquire both academic language skills and mathematical fluency. Moreover, the same essential reading components and first-language supports provided in reading classes also belong in the mathematics classroom.
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